Rep. Williams: Child abuse bill a 'life-saving service'
Sandy got a visit from House District 52 Rep. Anna Williams last week. The Hood River Democratic legislator held an informal meet up at AntFarm Cafe and Bakery on Tuesday, Oct. 15, to offer information on her short-session priorities and answer questions from constituents.
At the top of her list for the February 2020 session, Williams said, are two bills aimed at child abuse prevention and response. HB 3180, an omnibus bill aimed at studying and funding means of preventing child abuse, was passed last session, but not yet funded. Williams hopes to rectify that next year.
According to the Legislature's website, the bill:
n "Modifies allocation formula for grants to regional assessment centers and community assessment centers."
n "Establishes (a) child abuse assessment account within (the) State Treasury for purpose of grant program for assessment centers."
n "Appropriates moneys from General Fund to Department of Justice for purpose of funding (the) program."
n "Modifies authority of Advisory Council on Child Abuse Assessment to deposit contributions to Child Abuse Multidisciplinary Intervention Account and Child Abuse Assessment Account."
n "Directs Department of Human Services to distribute $1 million to Center for Prevention of Abuse and Neglect to conduct Oregon Child Abuse Prevalence Study."
n "Appropriates moneys from General Fund to Department of Human Services for distribution."
n "Appropriates moneys from General Fund to Department of Education for purposes of developing curricula and providing educator training for instructional requirements that relate to child sexual abuse prevention, human sexuality education, teen dating violence and domestic violence, and similar instructional requirements that relate to child safety."
"This is about a life-saving service and I don't think it should've been cut for other people's pet programs," Williams said at the Sandy meeting.
Other legislation will look at adding a check box to forms used to apply for child labor permits. To date, there is no step to ensure the person applying to utilize child labor does not have a record of child-related crimes.
The Bureau of Labor and Industry recognized this lack of restriction and asked for the addition to keep those under age 16 safe from potential predators.
"It adds a check box that could save the state money. It would be spent helping kids dealing with trauma," Williams noted. "I'm pretty confident about this legislation because BOLI asked for it."
"This is my priority for this session because I feel it was the biggest piece of unfinished business in the House Human Services and Housing Committee last session," Williams added. "As a social worker who has worked with survivors of abuse for over a decade, I have seen how abuse can change the trajectory of a child's life. It impacts their health, educational attainment, and their ability to thrive. It can also cause loss of housing or loss of employment for a caregiver. Since children are our most important natural resource, our state must invest in their safety and well-being."
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